Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

What Would You Do: The Case Of The Private Address

wwyd-address-resized.jpgThe Notary Hotline receives hundreds of calls daily from Notaries nationwide who find themselves in challenging situations. To boost your knowledge of Notary standards of practice, we’ve created a series of scenarios based on actual situations and ask a simple question: What would you do?

Picture this: You’re performing a notarization and are in the process of recording the signer’s information for your journal entry. Suddenly, the signer looks alarmed and asks you what you are doing. When you explain that you are entering information about the notarization in your journal for your records, she sounds upset. “I don’t want you writing down my address.” she says. “That’s private information and you shouldn’t have access to it. If you’ve already written my address down, I want you to cross it out immediately!”

What Would You Do?

Respecting a signer’s privacy is important — but at the same time, making a proper record of a notarization in the journal is an important part of the notarization process. A well-kept journal entry is a Notary’s best defense against accusations of negligence. Many states require Notaries to maintain a journal, and in some states part of that requirement is entering the signer’s address in the journal entry.

How would you handle this situation? Would you do as the signer requests? Explain that you do not permit unauthorized access to your journal entries? Or is there another alternative you would choose?  

To participate in this week’s “What Would You Do?” scenario, share your answers in the comments section below. We may mention your response in next week’s Bulletin, when we offer the best possible answer(s) to this notarial challenge.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

40 Comments

Add your comment

Ellen J Shepherd

22 Mar 2019

I would, with my cell phone on speaker, and being with the client, call the Notary Department at the Secretary of State's Office and have them quote to the person why the address needs to be maintain (or not). They are more likely to believe an authority.

Irvin Bremler

25 Mar 2019

Cross it out, you still have their address on the docs and your work order.

Debbie Cameron

25 Mar 2019

I would explain that for record keeping purposes, I am required to document address information and that that information is not shared, unless required for legal purposes. I would offer to use a non-permanent, removable covering such as painter's tape to place over the information so that anyone else signing that same journal page would not be able to see the information and but also would not damage the information contained underneath it.

Elaine Chester

25 Mar 2019

I would explain that I do not allow anyone access to the journal. It is state law that we maintain a complete journal including the signer's address.

Clyde Byram

25 Mar 2019

I would honor the signers request but make a note in the journal explaining what occurred.

Clyde Byram

25 Mar 2019

I would honor the signers request but make a notation in the Journal explaining what occurred.

Andre Augustine

25 Mar 2019

I have encountered this problem before. It's something I usually face with Law Enforcement Officers. They don't like giving out their home addresses for fear of the wrong people finding out where they live. I assure them that no one will see their information without a court order. If necessary I'll void out the remaining open lines and staple that page closed after the notarization is complete. Fortunately it has never come to that. I can usually assure them of the level of security I use to protect the information I collect in my journal.

Keith stewart

25 Mar 2019

Explain to the person this is a mandatory state guidelines and it is required from all notaries.

Leroy Casey

25 Mar 2019

On California, a singer's address is not required. I would comply with the request. I would, however, write a comment about the request in the comments section in my journal.

A C Dye

25 Mar 2019

After first explaining the purpose of entering their address. if still insistent, I would ask for any evidence that I could see using an alternative address, if nothing, then after obtaining her thumbprint...I would write the reasoning for deleting her address and delete it.

ALAN

25 Mar 2019

My state doesn't require a journal, however I still keep one. Not one client has refused to allow their information to be recorded or failed to sign my journal. If I were in a state that required it but the client didn't wish to leave their address, I would explain to them that the journal is kept in a secure place when not in use and that I'm very serious about their privacy which would be evident by the NNA Privacy Guards. I would explain to them how this could protect them in the future should the notarization be challenged and if they still refused I would think I would be required to refuse the notarization.

scalderon@esperanza.us

25 Mar 2019

In my case, I would simply state that the state of Pennsylvania requires "the full name and address of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed" in the journal of notarial acts and the state of PA requires Notaries to keep a journal. I would simply reassure the person that I make every effort in my power to protect my journal and the information in it.

Nikki B. Coleman

25 Mar 2019

I explain the notarization process prior to doing it. I bring a blank, unused journal to show that person what I have to note and why. If that person has an issue with any information that I need to record, the notarization is not completed. I bring a brand new, never used journal to avoid any chance that information in my journal is seen accidentally by eyes other than mine. I use to teach/tutor. I find this method eases stress on others.

Anat Krispin

25 Mar 2019

I would respect part of the request and will write down only the city and state with the zip code

Grace Anne Raymundo

25 Mar 2019

I would cover up the address so future signers would not see it …. actually I always keep a piece of paper over past signature so future signers do not see who is in my journal . 3kCL13

Lisa

25 Mar 2019

I would let them know I cannot notarize without adding that address to my journal. If they refuse, I would ask them to find another notary.

Dan

25 Mar 2019

I would honor their wishes. Once outside I would add the address and make a note of what just happened however!

Kadidia Cooper

25 Mar 2019

I would explain to them that I am required to take down the information but also explain how it will be kept confidential.

Ann Raineri

25 Mar 2019

I would review what the state requirement is and advise the client. If they do not wish to proceed then so be it. I would offer to cover up their address so no others could view it and explain the procedures I mush follow.

Linda Millstone

25 Mar 2019

I would explain to the client that their address is required in my journal and that I use a privacy shield so no one else can see any previous notarizations.

Becky

25 Mar 2019

I would let the signer know it’s for record keeping, if signer still refuses to have address listed I would cross out because in Florida it is not required. Respect the signers wishes first, unless signer doesn’t mind to list his/her address.

Bethany

25 Mar 2019

I work for a prison and routinely notarize for staff as well as inmates. Confidentiality is key in my work location. Due to the place I conduct the business and the nature of the items I am notarizing, I use the work address for employees. I specify the department they are from and add any notes that I may need. I also will keep a blank paper in my journal to assist in keeping previous lines from being seen by the inmates I work with.

vivienne caldwell

25 Mar 2019

I would explain that for record keeping purposes I must enter anything notarized. This is to prevent accusations and if called into Court I am required to present my Journal. Everything is kept confidential and will not shared with anyone.

Richard Stewart

25 Mar 2019

In Texas the address for the venue is required to be entered in the log entry. If the venue is the signers home then he address must be entered. If the signer is not comfortable with that requirement, I would suggest we move the signing to the local Starbucks, where their address could be used in place of her personal address. Signing done, signer happy!

vivienne caldwell

25 Mar 2019

I would explain that for record keeping purposes I must enter anything notarized. This is to prevent accusations and if called into Court I am required to present my Journal. Everything is kept confidential and will not shared with anyone.

Karen Howard

25 Mar 2019

In the State of WA, the address of the signer is required in the journal. If the address on the ID is "old", I ask the signer to provide their current address and record both. I have a copy of the printed regulations in my briefcase to address any other opinions.

betty

25 Mar 2019

There are only two places that the signer's address could be recorded in my journal, the recording of their ID and the location. If the signer doesn't want their address recorded as part of their ID information, then I would ask them to produce and id that Doesn't have a street address, such as a current passport/visa. If the signer doesn't have another address-less ID, then I would be calling my vendor/title/lender to tell them that I cannot identify the signer. My recording in my journal is a legal entry. I have been audited--not as an NSA, but in the horse industry--and my journal is my evidence of my schedule C mileage which is entered into my taxes, so I cannot prove mileage if I don't have a record. If the signer's id address is different from where it is signed and where it is signed IS their address, I might agree to only write down only the city and state. Most people will move and wait until their license expires before changing the address, so this does happen. It seems very suspicious to me that somebody doesn't want me to write this down since EVERYBODY uses a driver's license/State ID to buy tickets and to confirm their hotel reservation and those places have no reason to try to keep YOUR information private like a Notary does. There are a LOT of different people who handle your home address when you sign the paperwork. I don't need to list them all here. I certainly am sympathetic with someone who doesn't want their private information made public, but you pay for privacy. I have had more and more purchases at the signer's local bank, where you can confront your banker if your privacy has been breached. That doesn't say that I am not careful with ID's. Whenever I am asked to make copies and one of them is somebody's SSCard, I send it along with the documents and then delete it from my phone/computer, bc this is what I would want somebody else to do for me. I also routinely ask for the right thumbprint on the signature line for a Mortgage, Deed of Trust, and POA. I tell all signers that this is a requirement in Cook Co., IL, not yet in the rest of the state, but I don't press it. Most signers agree and I tell them that this is one more piece of evidence that they are the owner of this property.

Corey Stohlquist

25 Mar 2019

In the case of a private of a private person I would explain the Law and if they still did not want me to write the address down I would ask them to find another Notary, for Law Enforcement Officers ( I am a former LEO) I suggest using their Agency address as an alternative address.

kathryn agnew

25 Mar 2019

As a California notary I am not required to record an address in my journal so it would not present a problem if the signer did not want it written down.

Margaret Walker

25 Mar 2019

I went to a notary seminar where we were told to not even include the signer's driver's license info in my notary book. I look at their driver's license, and once I am satisfied it is the correct person, I will note it in my book that I verified their driver's license. I think the same can be said for private addresses. I quite frequently notarize for the attorneys in my office and always use the office address, not their private address. If someone from the street asked me to notarize and requested their address remain private I would still ask for ID and verify their name & address match. If necessary, I would ask for a second form of ID. I would then mark my book accordingly and have them initial it as well as the regular signature.

Brian Antezana

25 Mar 2019

Since California does not require recording the address of the signer, I would not record the address of the signer

Steven J Block

25 Mar 2019

Although a California notary is required by law to keep a journal, an address of the is not (see 8206(a) Government Code). As a best practice, however, I would try my hardest to convince the signer that ALL information in my journal will be kept confidential and only released when legally required.

William W.

25 Mar 2019

In my case, I have never had this issue because I always make a point to take my Journal out of a locked drawer when the person asks me to notarize something for them. Plus, I designed my own Journal,which only has one entry per page, with my state’s SOS approval first, so when I open my Journal, it is always on a blank page. Their personal information cannot be seen by prying eyes. I have never liked the Journals available to the mass market, so I made a point of designing my own, which also gave me more space to write down pertinent details with each entry.

Ronda Smith

26 Mar 2019

I would explain the state requirements and how I acknowledge and adhere to the HIPPA laws regarding there privacy and personal information. If they still refuse, I would have them put in writing their refusal to provide required information and their reason along with there signature and a date. Then I would write in the journal refused to provide address and have them sign it.

Nathaniel Travers

26 Mar 2019

You leave it out per the client's request, maybe make a note. In California, if you look at the Notary Handbook, it doesn't state that collecting an address is mandatory. You technically don't even need to write down their name (although you should). The Handbook states that you need to write down their ID # and form of ID given as well as a signature of the person having a document notarized. It does not specifically say an address is needed. People's address changes all the time. So even if you collected an address for a notarization, it doesn't mean it will be a valid address later on. Collecting an address doesn't matter...based on the CA Notary Handbook.

Colleen Stringfellow

26 Mar 2019

I would write in where the clients address goes "client did not want address to be put in journal due to privacy." Then in the additional comment are I would put the client address as additional information.

David Towers

26 Mar 2019

I will not perform a notarization without a government picture ID. The address is included on that ID and it becomes a photo in my smart phone, then uploaded to a secure, encrypted drive. Much faster and more accurate than the second page of the journal.

Christine Wissbrun

31 Mar 2019

I would ask if I could keep the City and State. I would draw a line through the address and Street.

Christine Wissbrun

31 Mar 2019

(Addl.) I would then make a note in the comments section of my Journal.

Jeanne Yomine

01 Apr 2019

Fortunately, I work for a law firm so clients are comfortable with the process. However, I make it a habit to cover previous entries. Everyone sees only their own responses. If no attorney was available, I can explain that I am required by law to record the information in my journal and to hold copies of documents. The very last thing I do is to use my seal. This way if necessary, I can agree to white out everything with the understanding that I would not be notarizing anything.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.